Typically after a fire or explosion, law enforcement officers will conduct an investigation to determine if any foul play was involved. Many times these cases are based on circumstantial evidence and suspicions because it is difficult to find a witness who saw the fire start. There also may be assumptions the fire was started to collect insurance money or to hide evidence from another crime, such as manslaughter or murder.
An arson conviction can result in serious penalties in Ohio, including jail or prison time, a criminal record and/or hefty fines. If you have been charged with an arson offense, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Columbus Arson Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with an arson offense in the Columbus, Ohio area, contact the Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm to discuss your unique case. Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm will make every effort to help you find applicable defenses or mitigating factors to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Call the Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a free consultation today about your alleged arson offense in Franklin County and the surrounding areas of Ohio.
Arson as Defined in Ohio Law
Arson – Ohio Rev. Code § 2909.03: A person must perform the following elements to be charged with arson:
- Knowingly caused or created
- A substantial risk of physical harm
- By using fire or explosion
- To the property of another person without their consent;
- To the property of the alleged offender or another person with the purpose to defraud;
- To any building or structure used for public purposes, which is owned or controlled by the state, political subdivision, or other governmental agency or department;
- To the property of the offender or another person with the purpose to defraud or to the property of another without their consent, but with an offer or agreement for hire; OR
- To any park, preserve, woods, land or other real property that is owned by the alleged offender, another person, the state or a political subdivision, including for the purpose to defraud.
Aggravated Arson – Ohio Rev. Code § 2909.02: An individual can be charged with this offense if they use fire or explosion and knowingly create a substantial risk of serious physical harm to any person, physical harm to any occupied structure, or create a substantial risk of physical harm to any occupied structure through an agreement for hire.
Penalties for Arson in Ohio
Arson is generally a misdemeanor of the first degree, which can lead to a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or fines not more than $1,000.
If the value of the property or the amount of the physical harm involved is $500 or more, the offense is punishable as a felony of the fourth degree, which can result in a prison sentence from six to 18 months and/or fines not more than $5,000.
If the offense involves the intent to defraud, a state building or structure or any real property the offense is punishable as a felony of the fourth degree, which can lead to a prison sentence from six months to 18 months and/or fines up to $5,000.
If the arson offense involves an agreement for hire, the offense is a felony of the third degree, which can lead to a prison term from one to five years and/or fines not more than $10,000.
Aggravated arson causing harm to an occupied structure is a felony of the second degree, which can result in a prison sentence from two to eight years and/or fines up to $15,000.
All other aggravated arson offenses are felonies of the first degree, which can result in a prison sentence from three to 10 years and/or fines not more than $20,000.
Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm | Arson Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio
If you have been charged with arson or aggravated arson in Columbus, Ohio, contact Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm to discuss the facts of your case. Brian Joslyn is a Columbus property crime attorney who will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious punishments to your alleged offense.